Remodeling Reality vs Reality TV

Remodeling Reality vs Reality TV

Extreme Home Makeover, Property Brothers, Love it or List it; television over the past decade has become rife with shows featuring glamorous rapid makeovers of homes across the country. The reality of the situation is that your remodel will be less glamorous, but will have a much bigger and (hopefully) better impact on your life.

One glaringly overlooked step in ALL of these shows is a realistic representation of the design process. Typically a homeowner will describe her problems to the audience, and then the Design Star will describe all the wonderful changes they are going to make to the home showing a lovely animation with walls and appliances popping out of no where.

This is where reality TV departs from actual reality. The camera doesn’t show the time it takes to measure the home or create the various layouts to address the homeowner’s needs. And the owners participation in the design is never shown – that would detract from the “magic.” There are many problems that have been worked out off camera. Dan wrote a great article about the necessity of collaborative design here. The design can, and should be, a cooperative, iterative process. Pennies spent in design save dollars during construction.

And I can only imagine that the Producers of many of these programs have some kind of relationship with the local Building Departments. Permits and approvals can take weeks to obtain and require a variety of inspections regardless of where you are in the country. While this is not at all glamorous, it’s a necessary portion of almost every remodeling project.

Now I must say, there is one program that I do appreciate and that is Holmes Makes it Right. Mike Holmes really works to highlight many of the problems and headaches that are, frankly, common place when remodeling a home. While the examples featured during the show are a somewhat extreme examples of what problems we commonly find in homes, it isn’t by much. What I appreciate most about Mike Holmes though is his motto: Make it Right. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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